Protocol Nr. 520
The persons in question have given us the following information: We lived with our parents in Munkács, our father was a printer. Two of us (Edit and Ilona) were teachers and lived well. Not much later than the Germans arrived, they chased us to the ghetto and later into the brick factory. We spent 5 weeks in these places. In the end, they entrained 300-400 people every day and we knew that sooner or later it was going to be our turn. They said they were going to carry us to the Hortobágy to work but we did not believe it. Of course, we could not imagine the future that was waiting for us. One day, we indeed got into a transport. They crammed us in a freight car where there were 70 of us. We had the food that we had brought with us. We did not really bring anything else because they had already seized everything we had in the brick factory. Gendarmes seized our watches, money, and smaller valuables that we had in the pockets in Kassa. We arrived in Auschwitz. We had to get off the train very fast and right on the spot were immediately separated from our parents, who were sent to the other side. Only three of us survived. They took us to the baths, where we had to undress, they cut our hair, depilated our entire bodies and after the bath they gave us a ragged garment without underwear. We got into Camp C, block 24. There were 1,000 people in a block. There was no work to do; there were only the continuous roll calls. They normally consumed six hours a day, but if something was not right, for example someone was missing, it lasted even longer, and it could happen that we stayed on our knees till the end. An SS woman gave a blow with a club to Erzsi’s head, therefore she had a purulent wound on her head for 8 weeks. She was also operated on in Camp A. Five minutes after she returned from the operation, she had to stand on her knees because of roll call for 5 hours. Nights were terrible because Erzsi’s head was purulent and days could pass before they changed her bandage. It badly stank and not only us, who lay at her sides, but also the others lying close to us suffered from it. We asked the Aufseherin to let her stay in during roll call at least when it was raining but she chased her out in the rain with a paper bandage on her head telling her that “you would anyhow perish here.” Rain used to fall in the block but that was not the only reason why we could not sleep. The worst thing was that we heard and saw that one arriving transport followed the other. We heard the shouts, the desperate cries for help and the screams. Later, this life had an effect also on Erzsi’ lung because the roof started to leak in the continuous rain and for two weeks we lay in water on the concrete floor. It was very difficult to stay together because Dr Mengele and an SS-woman called Drechsler came every day to do selections. We ran from one block to another, we played hide-and-seek and used all kind of cunning tricks in order to remain together. The continuous anxiety about our separation tested our nerves so we were already happy when we got into a transport of labourers. It was not without anxieties either because they did not want to select Erzsi into the transport but she insisted that she was strong and willing to work so in the end she could come with us. Of course, she did not say she wanted to stay together with her sisters because they would surely not have allowed her to come. We got to Unterlüss, next to Hannover. There were two types of jobs here: one could work for an ammunition plant or work outside. We decided to work in the open because we did not want Erzsi’s debilitated lung to get even more destroyed by the air of the factory which was full of gases. It was a hard job, and we were very cold. We had no coats and had to work all through the winter in a single garment. Treatment was generally not bad, there was only an SS-woman, who would beat us hard. The most trivial reason was sufficient for her to beat us half dead. For example, if she found a piece of potato on someone. And naturally no one was spotless, since everybody tried to steal a little food so that we could keep on working and could survive. Since Edit was in the SS-Kommando she could always steal a few pieces of potatoes or something else. That was why we could survive. At the beginning, they gave us soup made of potatoes, pasta or barley gruel, which was still ok, but later they gave us only soup. We got no bread at all for two weeks, later they cut a loaf into 18, then in 10 pieces. This was quite a poor area. Locals starved, too, and even the SS starved. Erzsi fell sick. She did not want to stay home because the sick were taken away, and the three of us had only one concern and goal: staying together. She kept on working. Our lodging was quite good. We lived in barracks, everybody had a bed and two covers, and also plates and cutlery of her own. We could wash, and we were also clean, only a transport from Bergen- Belsen brought lice among us later, and as a result typhus started to spread also here. Ilonka fell sick with it, and lay in bed for four weeks. When the arrival of the English was only a question of days, the Lagerführer declared the people in the camp needed to escape but the sick were going to stay here. Again, there was fear of separation from each other since Ilonka was lying sick with typhus. As a solution we all reported sick and lay down next to the patients with typhus. We were told that the people from the camp would leave on foot, while the sick were going to remain. In the last minute an SS-woman entered and made us get on a truck. We saw that it was pretty urgent. Two SS-men tried to decide which one needed to come with us. Neither of them was enthusiastic. The truck started and we had not even had a soup that day, and had not had bread for two days already. A small luxurious black car went ahead, and stopped every five minutes and came back: "Folgen!" They carried us in Lüneburg, which was not far from Hamburg. They dropped us off at a house and put 12 cases in our place. It was written "Branntvein" on the cases. They newly put us on truck next to the cases and we started back. On the way, the car was stopped several times and they always said they were transporting four Sträfling und in den Kisten ist ihre Verpflegung". In the evening, outside the town at the edge of a forest they dropped us off the truck and the SS man said they would return to fetch us in an hour. We already knew we were free; the only thing we did not know was how to use our freedom since out of 24 people 18 had a temperature of 40 C degrees. SS-men and women were running up and down like poisoned rats, and we knew that one might easily feel like shooting all of us, so we were prepared to die any minute. Late evening, it struck a Wehrmacht soldier that a group of unfortunate people in striped clothes were standing there. He came to us, and we told him our story, he felt sorry for us and distributed his bread among us. One of the Polish Jewish girls – who also had typhus – started to search around till she found a little make-up, which she put on her face, and went to the Wehrmacht soldier. She started talking to him, flirting with him till he took a liking to her, and he saved us for her sake. He brought us in a village called Häcklingen, where he forced one of the farmers to hide us in the hay. He was not much willing to do so but the Wehrmacht soldier told him that the English were going to kill him if only a hair of our heads was touched. He kept us here for 8 days, and provided us ample food, and everyone who had typhus was cured. The 18th of April, the English arrived, and right away took care of us. They led us to a flat, supplied us, and robbed a shop to give us all some clothing. An English military doctor came to inspect us and sent all 24 of us immediately in hospital. We got into the hospital in Lüneburg, where we spent three months. Three of us died out of the 24. A girl from Csögle, Rózsi Bohdner, went mad. She kept having nightmares, and believed that English soldiers were SS in disguise. She would shout: "Can’t you see that it is an SS?," and finally committed suicide. When we heard that the last Czech transport was going to depart, we also joined it to come home. As regards the future, we have no plans. For the moment, we are very tired.